To me, the chimes of our grandfather clock symbolize life.
As a child, my grandmother taught me the rhythm and pattern of the clock. From a young age, I would lay in her guest bed, counting the dongs of the hour and deciding if Grandma would think five dongs was late enough to get up and make pancakes.
Weekly, my grandma wound the clock. If for some reason it stopped working, she quickly had it serviced. She counted on the chimes of that clock. They were a constant in her home. She loved to hear its sound.
When Grandma passed away almost two years ago, the clock stopped chiming. No one was living in the house, so no one thought to wind the grandfather clock. Grandma’s house was eerily quiet when I’d drop in to check things over or gather her junk mail.
We began renovations on the family farmhouse almost a year after she passed. The house was no longer quiet, but the clock still did not chime. It remained silent in the dining room — the very last room we renovated. No one gave much thought to the clock for six months as plaster was repaired and cabinets were installed.
When we moved into my grandmother’s farmhouse, we moved the fifth and sixth generation of my family into the home. It was built by my great-great grandparents in 1885. My children can’t even comprehend how rare it is to live and love within walls containing such family history.
The day we settled our belongings into the home and began to add to the history, the dining room was still untouched. For weeks, the grandfather clock sat in our hallway. It was crammed into an inconvenient space with a table for eight and all the matching chairs. Plaster dust covered the clock, but there was no sense in cleaning it until the renovations were complete.
Despite its condition and unlikely location, on our first full day in the farmhouse the grandfather clock began to chime. I stopped unpacking a box of belongings and realized moving the clock to the hallway must have activated the tired chimes. The melody of the timepiece brought along memories and emotions from my childhood.
To me, the sound of the clock symbolized life.
It had been silent following my grandmother’s passing. The house was empty. There was no one for whom to keep time.
Now though, my grandmother’s legacies were running through the house, trying to find their favorite toys amidst the chaos. The farmhouse was once again filled with life. There was a reason to announce the time.
As we inhabit this house of history and legacy, I think a lot about that grandfather clock. It chimes every fifteen minutes to remind me life fills this home. It also serves as a source of accountability as I listen to it keep time. Am I loving in a way that pleases God and builds his legacy in my family, as my ancestors did? How have I filled my time since the last time I heard the clock sing?
To me, the grandfather clock symbolizes life; it reminds me to live.